According to The 2017 State of B2B Marketing Automation report, only two in five organizations are using marketing automation to its fullest capacity. We set out to raise that number by launching Act-On University, an online resource that gives customers unlimited access to live and interactive courses for onboarding, product training, and best practices.
Tami Nealy, Vice President of Marketing for rSmart, recently purchased Act-On and her team has been avid students in the University. Tami sat down with me to describe their learning experience and how the online courses are helping them master the platform and become stronger marketers.
This conversation has been edited for brevity.
Tony Coray: Let’s start by having you tell me a little bit about rSmart and how you came to use Act-On.
Tami Nealy: rSmart provides universities with a next generation portal solution that makes it easy for everyone in their audience to discover and access campus services. Our product is called OneCampus, and our goal is to modernize campus technology and simplify campus life.
When I joined rSmart, the company was using Salesforce Pardot, which was not user-friendly. I asked our Salesforce rep for training, and instead of offering us customer support, he referred me to a third-party vendor. It was a very frustrating experience, so I began asking my network to recommend other marketing automation software, and everyone referred me to Act-On.
I quickly discovered Act-On was an amazing platform, but it was the company’s customer support that sold me. This care and attention told me that Act-On would be a great ally.
Tony: That’s great to hear! How would you describe your onboarding experience?
Tami: It was world class. Much more than we could ever have expected. It’s helped us get up to speed quickly, Because of Act-On University, we were able to get up to speed in seemingly no time and launch our first campaign in less than one month.
The online courses in Act-On University are organized into learning paths that focus on different objectives, and our onboarding manager took the time to understand our marketing goals and recommend the paths we should take to meet them. He tracked our progress closely, and was always ready to help with our homework and quizzes.
And he was so warm and personal – much more than just a trainer on the other end of the line. To be honest, when onboarding ended, I kind of felt like our boyfriend broke up with us! (laughs).
Tony: But the memories will last a lifetime. What was the learning experience at Act-On University like?
Tami: The presenters are phenomenal – very knowledgeable and highly skilled at presenting the material in a way that’s easy to understand. The content is always engaging, and I love that the courses are interactive. There are usually 8-10 other marketers in the class. It seemed like they could all type their questions into the chat faster than me, but it was still great. They made the learning even richer.
Tony: How about the Act-On University learning environment itself? Was it easy to find what you needed on the site?
Tami: The site was very user-friendly. I went through the Demand Generation Marketing learning path, and all the courses I needed to complete were laid out in chronological order. One click showed me what sessions were available, and there were always plenty of options. Registering was easy, and I would get a reminder email an hour before the class. The whole process was seamless.
Tony: Were there other features you found useful?
Tami: I like that the trainers hold office hours that allow you to schedule time with them if you have specific questions. And I’m excited about the new Take 10 program, the ten-minute sessions on topics like lead nurturing and customer marketing. They’re valuable and easy to consume. I have them all on my calendar.
Tony: How is the university helping you and your team?
Tami: It’s giving us great confidence in using the platform and made it easy to train our colleagues. We showed a sales rep how to find and use the Act-On dashboard in the CRM, and he was blown away by features like Hot Prospects and the Website Prospector. During our meeting, he saw a college was visiting our website and reached out to them and booked a demo – all before we even sent our first email!
The university is also making me a better marketer. Before I came to rSmart, most of my experience was in corporate communications. Now I’m more focused on demand generation and campaign development, and the university is giving me access to all this intelligence from veteran marketers in those disciplines. I don’t want to say it’s like marketing for dummies, but it’s kind of like marketing for dummies!
But seriously, it’s made me a little obsessive about Act-On. Completing courses has been so enjoyable and satisfying that I took my laptop to the beach and continued working through them on my vacation! (laughs).
Tony: Wow, now that’s commitment! What role do you see Act-On University playing down the road?
Tami: All the learning paths will be helpful. Right now, we’re developing a good proficiency with the platform, but soon we’re going to be focusing on our content marketing, and I’m already making note of the courses and best practices that the university offers about optimizing TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU programs. That kind of guidance will be very helpful.
As a whole, the university gives me the confidence that as we grow our business, we’ll be able to scale with Act-On. And I feel good knowing that the Act-On team will celebrate our success as we achieve each new milestone.